The battle between the sexes has never been more animated then when it comes to gaming. Well at least in my experience. I assume it’s mostly because when we’re playing games we’re not paying them enough attention (I’m going to pay for that). Fine, shoot the messenger, but if your friends are anything like mine, by now you’ll have heard droves of woman complaining about how their significant other is addicted to the game. I like to call it “being skyrimmed”. This in itself is an indication of how immersive Skyrim can be. At Onelargeprawn we like to do things differently, so I thought “why not turn the whole battle of the sexes on its head? Let’s get a girl to review the game!” And what a good idea that turned out to be. Find out what Ingrid, our guest gamer, thought of Skyrim, after the jump.
Ingrid: Skyrim is a great game for chicks.
Way to go laying it out there right off the bat. Us males don’t have the balls to put it so simply and eloquently.
Ingrid: It must have something to do with our high concentration of neurons in odd places, or our bigger frontal lobes (look that up!). Or maybe it’s because we are conditioned to socialise and network from a very young age (see also: the female love for soap operas). In terms of evolutionary theory, men are hunters/takers, while women are nurturers/givers. Whatever the reason, chicks just love getting lost in conversation and role playing (free tip for you).
Skyrim offers this kind of stimulation in spades. I avoided the bigger quests in favour of small tasks and enjoyed working through quite a few levels that way. I’m also quite dumb and lost a lot of time trying to kill a guy that, I was later told, is impossible to kill.
I call bull on the frontal lobes (but I’m wary of looking it up) [Ed: actually, she’s right. The Broca’s area in the frontal lobe—whih relates to speech and language—is larger in women than in men]. Sure the questing is engrossing, but daaamn there’s a lot of dialogue. Is it always talk talk talk with you ladies and no action? While I did find myself enthralled in one or two quests, there’s a huge amount of repetition and boredom does become a factor (at least it did for me). Don’t worry to much about killing the UN-killable, you should try Dark Souls! Actually now that I mention it, after having played Dark Souls, the one place where Skyrim fell flat was in the area of combat. It’s bearable if you’re throwing spells left and right, but if you’ve gone pure melee you’re in for a snore-fest.
Ingrid: The great thing about this game, and any other worthwhile RPG, is that your progress doesn’t only depend on how many glowy green things you can kill. Instead, you can apply your skill set (mine is, it turns out, getting information from barmen) to move through the game. I loved the wide range of skills that you could build on and sometimes caught myself wishing I could play two characters at once.
No surprises there, showing a little cleavage always gets you served first, although it’s never worked for me. Personally what I enjoyed most about the skills was leveling them up rapidly! Can you say Daedric Armor before level 20?
Ingrid: That said, I wish I was as good at killing as I am at questing. I blame the console’s controllers. I could get seriously lost in this game if I played it on a PC and on holiday.
You’re not going to get anywhere round here with that argument, believe me I’ve tried. But in this case you might have a point. Skyrim on a PC has some serious advantages for the uber-addicted. There are tons of add-ons and mods to download, and although modding the game so that all the female characters are naked might only appeal to us men (and a few ladies, ahem) there is plenty for everyone’s taste. On a console, however, you are stuck with the stock, vanilla-flavoured Skyrim—which is great!—but who wouldn’t want a little something something on the side?
Ingrid: I am told Skyrim is an excellent game in terms of graphics. I’ll be honest, it’s been a while since I’ve played so I’m not the best person to comment on this. The last game I exhausted was GTA San Andreas and before that it was Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines (an extraordinary game, by the way), both from 2004.
Skyrim obviously trumps these two visually. One thing that struck me is you had to get to learn the game’s visual (and aural) code. I got killed or caught off-guard (mostly killed) many times because I didn’t notice a green glow or hear a howling wolf. But eventually I turned off the background music and paid attention. And that helped a lot!
Indeed Masquerade is an awesome game and I commend you on your choice. Skyrim frankly looks fantastic. The sky! [Ed: the rim!] The forests! Pretty much everything is just plain gob-smackingly good looking. Watching the dragons fly is mesmerizing… until they scorch you to death.
Ingrid: The game is incredibly immersive and I saw only one glitchy rabbit-repeatedly-running-into-a-tree problem. Said rabbit could not be killed or persuaded to stop.
I can top that: a random horse fell from the sky to its death metres in front of me. I’ve heard of rain of frogs or plagues of locusts, but equine aerial assault is something else entirely. But rather than put me off the game, these sparse glitches are quite endearing.
Ingrid: Skyrim has a huge map, and that is a very exciting thing. But all the travelling bummed me out and I got very lost at times (you have to arrive at a physical location once before you can warp-speed your way over there). However, I believe the experience has helped me improve my real-life navigation skills (N means north! E means east! Brilliant!)
Please SMS me whenever you get behind the wheel so that I may avoid the roads. Skyrim sure has a lot of space to explore and while you were out soliciting favours from barman and collecting twenty sheep skins for little Johnny to make a rug, I was out exploring. There’s some really cool stuff to find, although I spent quite a bit of time approaching high places from seemingly impossible angles just to see what was there!
Ingrid: Consoles can kiss my ass though. Give me good old WASD any day. I’ve just been unable to master Playstation and Xbox controllers, and that was one of the biggest pleasure-blockers. Maybe that’s a chick thing, too.
Considering my own ineptitude with a controller in hand (I still get blisters playing fighting games, true story) I feel it’s best I keep quiet on this one. Luckily for you, Skyrim is available on console and PC, so you can get it just the way you want.
Final Score: 8.5 prawns out of 10. (It could have scored higher if the combat was a little more fun)
Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Platform: PS3 (reviewed), Xbox 360, Windows
RRP: R599 (PS3, 360), R399 (PC)
Release Date: November 2011
Age Rating: 18+